Jonathon van Maren

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Doctors lobby for new euthanasia rules so organs can be ‘as fresh as possible’

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

September 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As if Canadians did not already have enough to be ashamed of with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s aggressive promotion of abortion around the world, Canada has now joined the Netherlands in lobbying the World Medical Association to change its longstanding position in opposition to assisted suicide. Nations that decide to fundamentally mangle the definition of medicine are never satisfied with simply changing their own laws – they must always bring their bloody practices to other places, as well.

Some Canadian doctors are advocating that Canada follow the Netherlands in other ways, as well. As I described in my 2016 book The Culture War, physicians in the Netherlands have begun to both advocate and implement the practice of harvesting organs from euthanized patients. The medical journal Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology published a description of how this is carried out in 2011:

Donors were admitted to the hospital a few hours before the planned euthanasia procedure. A central venous line was placed in a room adjacent to the operating room. Donors were heparinized [a drug to maintain organ viability] immediately before a cocktail of drugs was given by the treating physician who agreed to perform the euthanasia. The patient was announced dead on cardiorespiratory criteria by 3 independent physicians as required by Belgian legislation for every organ donor…The deceased was then rapidly transferred, installed on the operating table, and intubated [in preparation for organ removal] …

Ethicist Wesley J. Smith of the Center for Bioethics and Culture responded with horror at the time:

Ponder the enormity of what was done here. Four people—who were not otherwise dying—were killed and then swiftly wheeled into a surgery suite to have their organs removed. Three of the donors were struggling with neuromuscular disabilities—people who often face social isolation and discrimination—and one was mentally ill. In a particularly bitter irony, the latter patient was a chronic self-harmer, the “treatment” for which was a willing professional team ready to administer the ultimate harm.

That’s just the beginning. Prominent voices among the medical elite have called for the overturning of the “dead donor rule”—the ethical backbone of organ transplant medicine requiring that a patient die naturally from injury or illness before vital organs can be procured. These advocates argue that consent should be the primary ethical concern and criteria for organ harvesting—not that a donor is dead. Thus if living patients or their surrogates give the okay, doctors should be allowed to euthanize by means of live harvesting.

Two doctors from Ontario’s Western University along with a bioethicist from Harvard Medical School, Robert Truog, are already advocating that Canadian laws and medical protocols be changed so that organ donation can be paired with euthanasia in Canada, as well. Euthanasia, a report on their proposal notes, “offers significant advantages for transplant surgeons” – if the customary delay where the physicians wait for blood circulation to cease in order to ensure that any organ donation takes place after cardiac death takes place is done away with. In that short period of time, which may be only several minutes, the “quality of the organs declines,” and thus if “they were removed in a coordinated operation from a euthanasia patient, they would be as fresh as possible.”

Several very important changes would need to take place before these coordinated operations could begin to take place in Canadian hospitals. First, they noted, the “staff of intensive care wards are trained to keep people alive; in organ donation after euthanasia they would have to kill the patient. At the moment, too, a firewall exists between the staff handling withdrawal of life support and the staff handling organ donation so that patients are not killed for their organs. But with legalised euthanasia, there will be no need for the firewall.” Read those words again carefully, and let them sink in.

Other significant changes would include doing away with the “dead donor” rule that has so long been essential to medical institutions. Canadian law also stipulates that a death by euthanasia is, by definition, a death “caused by the administration of a ‘substance,’” which would need to be changed so that death could instead be caused by “organ retrieval.” Of course, some medical professionals would presumably object, and so the authors of this proposal recognize that something will have to be done about “conscientious objectors”:

Hospitals and organ-procurement organizations must therefore have protocols that allow clinicians who object to opt out. Organizations also need to consider where to draw the boundaries of legitimate conscientious objection. Does the right to opt out extend to laboratory and pharmaceutical staff? What about the disposition of these organs — should clinicians be permitted to opt out of participating in the transplantation of donated organs, and should potential recipients be informed about the source of the organs in case they may want to decline transplantation?

In other words, some medical professionals might not be able to object to cooperating with these medicalized killings, regardless of how appalled they might be at the idea of killing somebody by pillaging their body for “fresh organs.” Considering Canada’s track record on conscientious objection in the medical field, it seems very unlikely that physicians with functioning consciences would not be in danger of being forced into some level of cooperation with this horrifying new step into sanitized barbarism.

At this stage, euthanasia-by-organ-donation is only a proposal, and we can hope that Canada does not continue to follow in the footsteps of the Netherlands. These practices would make an awful situation even worse, with some sick patients perhaps being encouraged to consider organ donation for healthier people—and feeling obligated to do so—or using organ donation as a way of attempting to find meaning for their lives. The potential implications are endless. For the sake of vulnerable men and women everywhere, these practices must be emphatically rejected.

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.